"In a masterly act of literary transformation, celebrated novelist Hanan al-Shaykh re-creates the dramatic life of her mother, Kamila, in Kamila's own voice. We enter 1930s Beirut through the eyes of the unschooled but irrepressibly spirited nine-year-old child who arrives there from a small village in southern Lebanon. We see her drawn to the excitements of the city, to the thrill of the cinema, and, most powerfully, to Mohammad, the young man who will be the love of her life." "Despite a forced marriage at the age of thirteen to a much older man, despite the two daughters she bears him (one of them the author), despite the scandal and embarrassment she brings to her family, Kamila continues to see Mohammad. Finally, after a decade, her husband gives her a divorce, but she must leave her children behind. The Locust and the Bird is both a tribute to a strong-willed and independent woman and a heartfelt critique of a mother whose decisions were unorthodox and often controversial. As the narrative unfolds through the years (Kamila died in 2001), we follow this passionate, strong, demanding, and captivating woman as she survives the tragedies and celebrates the triumphs of a life lived to the very fullest."--Publisher description.